Man charged with arson for torching his foreclosed home

Gwinnett County authorities have filed criminal charges against a 45-year-old Lawrenceville man who set fire to his foreclosed home on Christmas Eve, injuring himself and his 6-year-old daughter.

Roberto Fernandez-Centena was still hospitalized under guard at Gwinnett Medical Center Thursday with injuries from the fire at his former home on Daisy Court. Upon his release, he will be booked into the jail on three felony charges: first-degree arson, cruelty to children and aggravated assault, said Gwinnett fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge.

Witnesses reportedly saw Fernandez-Centena enter the uninhabited house with a gas can on Christmas Eve. The child ran to a neighbor's house and later told authorities her father set the fire in an attempt to kill himself.

She was treated for smoke inhalation and is now being cared for by relatives, Rutledge said. Fernandez-Centena allegedly ran and hid in the woods after the blaze, but he was arrested in the vicinity two days later.